Updated. Do you find the U.S. passport renewal process inconvenient? That dreaded passport renewal process requires time out for a process that is far from easy, safe (until you have the passport in your hand), or efficient.
Here are the ways you can renew your passport with the least amount of inconvenience and time required on your part:
Passport renewal processing time
Most people have their passports renewed the traditional way. People most often go to the post office, handling the process through U.S. mail. This is okay if you have lots of time before your old passport expires. You get your new passport in the mail 6-8 weeks later.
But this method also involves a slow process with snail mail and risk of never receiving your passport.
However, if you live someplace far away from a Federal Building or a place offering full-service passport transactions on your behalf, then you might be stuck with dealing with the often unreliable U.S. Postal Service.
Do NOT have your new passport mailed to you by U.S. mail
A passport is a valuable document. The U.S. Department of State will send your new passport as regular U.S. mail to your address. However, if you can, then avoid using the U.S. Postal Service for your passport transactions.
…And this is where you may have problems: As most of us are aware, the U.S. Postal Service mail delivery system is not reliable!
For instance, my neighbor’s passport ended up in my mailbox as a misdelivery by the mail carrier. That was one week before she was to go on her vacation to Europe!
You can just imagine the fate of her passport had it been delivered to a dishonest person’s address, or perhaps to an illegal alien in need of a U.S. Passport.
Suggested ways on how to renew your passport the EASY way
Here are the methods that will help to avoid the uncertainties and possibilities of your new passport not being delivered to you as expected:
A GOOD way to handle passport renewal transactions
If you live close to a Federal Building with a U.S. Department of State passport office: Make an online appointment to renew your passport in person.
Have your passport picture taken first, and pre-complete the paperwork.
You can download the necessary documents on the U.S. Department of State’s website. You can arrange to return to pick up your new passport in person at the same place. Expedited service is available, subject to current State Department rules.
If you need to renew your passport when you are abroad, simply go to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you are. Request pick-up of your new passport in person.
The BEST way to handle passport transactions
Most Federal Buildings will have several local businesses in the area, or in the same city, catering to handling your passport renewal for you, for a small fee.
They handle the entire passport renewal transaction for you. Paperwork, passport pictures, delivery and pick up of your new passport are all included in their services.
You only need to go in one day to initiate the transaction. Then, often within 24 hours later, you can return to pick up your passport in person.
How to find a passport renewal service
To locate a passport renewal service operator in your area, enter “passport renewal” in Google Maps.
The results will show you where the nearest one to you is located. However, most are located close to the Federal Building in your city, since they act as handlers and couriers for you. By having their office close to the Federal Building they can get to the job done quicker. Then read the customer reviews of the service before you commit to using them.
Don’t live close to a Federal Building offering passport renewals?
Use a reputable online 24-hour passport renewal service (check their online reputation-reviews ahead of time). Such a service will help you and do everything for you from the comfort of your computer.
Specify to have your passport delivered by FedEx, UPS, or similar delivery service. Again, we’d recommend you avoid using the United States Postal Service, due to its unreliability.
After you get your passport
Did you have valid VISAS or perhaps you are enrolled in the Global Entry or a similar program? Don’t forget to have these privileges transferred to your renewed passport. For example, your new passport information needs to be entered into your online account in the Global Entry program.
What are your thoughts on passport renewals? Have your passport renewals been uncomplicated or did you encounter problems with your passport delivery? For comments or questions please contact us here.
Featured Image: Bora Bora Island, Tahiti. Photo: © Philippe Bacchet.